Divorce can be hotly contested; however, it can become more confrontational when domestic violence is involved. If you are a victim of domestic violence who is trying to seek divorce and you understand how much your spouse is capable of harm, you need to take steps to protect yourself.
The following are effective ways to safely file for divorce after domestic violence:
- Seek shelter and safety. If you are afraid for your safety and wellbeing when you break the news that you want a divorce, you need to find a safe place to stay and not tell your spouse where you are going.
- Obtain a protective order. In Ohio, domestic violence victims can seek relief directly, or a parent or adult household member can file a petition on behalf of the victim. The petition for relief must describe the nature and extent of the domestic violence and the victim’s relationship with the perpetrator. If you need immediate protection, you can request an “ex parte” hearing, which doesn’t require the presence of the perpetrator, and the Ohio courts will hold on the same day as the filing.
- Get a lawyer. Many victims of domestic violence do not have enough money to pay for an attorney because their abuser has complete control over the household finances. Many divorce lawyers will help these individuals by representing them free of charge (pro bono) or at a reduced rate.